By David Ponce
We don’t feel quite comfortable enough to call it a trend yet, but we’re seeing more and more eco-friendly vehicles that don’t suck. By this we mean, vehicles we’d actually want to drive for their blistering performance, rather than by our knowing treehuggers worldwide cream their pants every time we step on “the gas”. First, we came across the fully electric Tesla Roadster, and now we come across news of the PML-modded Mini. This one’s a hybrid, with the notable feature of being able to leave a Porsche in the dust.
It does this by combining a small internal combustion engine (ICE) and four electric motors: one at each wheel. Each of these motors can output 160bhp, for a total of 640bhp, a 0 to 60 time of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of about 150mph. The energy is stored in a large Lithium ion battery, and power output with the help of a large ultra capacitor. It has an electric-only range of 200 to 250 miles, and a total range (if using the ICE) of about 930miles, which seems to work out to around 80mpg. Braking is non-mechanical, but rather achieved through very efficient generators that return most of the inertial energy the car acquired during acceleration into electric energy it can later re-use.
Of course, the minute we read non-mechanical brakes, we got a little worried. I mean, what happens if, for some reason, power fails?
Still, it’s a very cool mod, though it’s not a production car. Seems like PML makes the wheel motors, there are Lithium-Ion batteries around (Dell probably has a few spare ones)… so nothing really stops you from making your own.